Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 103

Well, I guess it's really official...cold temperatures mean that summer (gasp) is over. (boo!) With the rushing in of cold weather, no longer are our feet going to burn from the hot sand or will we get a glowing tan from being at the beach...nope... now starts the season of cold fingers and sniffly red noses.  It was so cool here yesterday, that when we headed to Wrightsville Beach, I had to break out a long sleeve shirt, my "winter" jacket, and shoes!! AND... I also broke out all my new beach cleaning bags from Green Bag Lady!!     
Now, as excited as my kids were to use their new bags... the cold northerly winds and cold sand put them in a constant state of whine and they only lasted about 5 minutes before they called it quits!! *Sigh*  It's more fun when they call it quits because they're running to play in the water...    
For the month of October, our beach clean ups have been few and far between.  In fact, with this clean up... we ended up doing only 3 clean ups for the entire month of October.  Realizing we hadn't been to Access 36-- our adopted beach access-- since September 9... my husband and I agreed that we needed to go there.  The beach was empty and the amount and type of litter we found is starting to change. However, somethings just don't change.  Through the changing of the seasons, we have found that we always find large amounts of cigarette butts.
One thing I wasn't expecting to find a lot of yesterday, was straws.  With the oceanfront restaurant Oceanic at Access 36, we always find loads of plastic straws that blow from their dining pier.  BUT... I thought with the weather being fairly cool that we wouldn't find many straws.  Boy was I wrong!!!  We collected a total of 35 straws... AND.... 31 of those straws came from Oceanic!! (shocker)  Some black, some clear... and some-- like this one I found at the steps leading up to the pier-- still in wrappers.

If you recall, I've been in contact with the district manager of the company that owns Oceanic.  This problem along with an employee smoking area, has been something that I've been assured they're working on.  I have to say, that I was very impressed to see very little cigarette litter under the pier... BUT... BUT... BUT.... the amount of straws from their restaurant that we found on a cold day at Wrightsville Beach... is completely ridiculous.  Since I've talked to Oceanic about this problem... they know it exists.  They know that they are part of the litter problem at Wrightsville Beach...and they don't want to be known as the littering restaurant.  But... 31 straws, 6 coasters, 10 candy wrappers and a mix of other various items... I hate to be the one to let them know ------> When you offer (or use) single-use disposable products... you are part of the littering problem.  I recognize this fact in my own life and because of this connection we choose to make changes. ...So, if Oceanic (or anyone else) wants to change that trend... if they truly want to be part of the solution, they have to start making changes. RETHINK, REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE   .... Guess it's time to make another phone call...

20 minutes on October 30, 2011 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 9.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 198

The pile on the left are littered items that are specific to Oceanic: coasters, straws, candy wrappers, coffee creamer, cracker wrappers.

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 103 days: 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 102

After over 20 days, I finally made it back out to Wrightsville Beach last night to do my 102nd beach clean up!!!  My husband and three kids had some things to do... so, it was just "me" and one of our brand new beach clean up bags straight from Green Bag Lady!!

Teresa (Green Bag Lady) made special beach bags for several of us that do beach clean ups... and sent us 5 for our family to use!!  Now, I attempted to make a video showing what sets Green Bag Lady Beach Bags apart from the rest... but *sigh* I just can't listen to my recorded voice!! (must figure out how they made me sound good in my FilterForGood film ;) )  Anyhow, the bags are made of vinyl with MESH bottoms... a mesh bottom means that all of the sand falls through and stays where it's supposed to-- the beach!!!  YAY!!  No more piles of sand in my driveway!!  Thanks so much Teresa!! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE our new beach bags!! So AWESOME!!!! :)
When I saw this single use plastic spoon on the beach last night, I immediately thought of the poster-- "The Spoon" by Max Temkin-- that I shared on my FB page back in September. (Thanks Sean!)  If you haven't seen the poster, check it out here.  It may seem like an absolute no brainer to not use disposable plasticware, but it's easy to get stuck using the stuff.  So... my advice: Either buy a nice travel set of utensils or grab some out of your drawer and keep them handy! Please and thank you :) 
Still picking up cigarette butts on Wrightsville Beach... and still no resolution as to how the Town of WB is planning on dealing with the problem.  As beach season is now over, I have no doubts that this issue will be (once again) put off until next season... guess I'll be at this longer than I anticipated.  

No worries though, because I decided a few months ago that I'm going to continue doing the 20 minute beach clean ups until Sara finishes her 365 non-consecutive day goal (She just finished up with Day 227)  Here's to at least another year... and our awesome awesome community! :)

20 minutes on October 23, 2011 at Access 29
Cigarette butts: 132

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 102 days:


Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Step forward... lean...step back... tilt... repeat...there's an art to the whole process of admiring and understanding art.  Meant to stir something in us... we all connect to masterpieces of art differently... and for different reasons.  Recently, my family and I went to see my friend Bonnie's art exhibit at UNCW... and just like all the great works of art that I am drawn to... I could spend hours admiring the brilliance of simplicities and complexities found in what Bonnie has created...

Using plastic she's collected, Bonnie morphed the 19th century painting "Great Wave of Kanagowa" into 5 distinctly different waves that represent the 5 ocean gyres.... it's beautiful and disturbing all at the same time.  Bonnie often talks to me about the time Charlie Moore told her that if we don't get this problem [of plastic pollution] under control... that we would eventually be swimming in it.  As the majority of litter we pick up on Wrightsville Beach is plastic, I understand it and can see how it is a possibility for our future.  BUT... during a research trip to Bermuda, Bonnie saw what most of us don't even want to imagine.... she watched plastic wash in as children swam in the ocean. some places, eventually is happening right now.

In an attempt to share Bonnie's art exhibit with people that can't make it to Wilmington, I took a short video.  BUT... I offer you this thought.  What if Bonnie could bring her exhibit to where you live??  I, personally, think that "What Goes Around, Comes Around" needs to travel... everyone needs to see it in person.... what do you think??

"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life." 
 ~William Faulkner

P.S.  You can contact Bonnie here :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life Rolls On

For the past few weeks, I've been somewhat MIA.  From taking unplanned trips to visit family to a broken computer... it feels like forever since I posted.  fyi: Forever = 15 days ;)  In my last post, I mentioned the awesome AWESOME day we had at Wrightsville Beach.  Now... computer fixed and my feet firmly planted back in Wilmington... it's time to rewind to October 1!!  :)
Just like last year, my husband and I volunteered with Ocean Cure for "Life Rolls On: They Will Surf Again".  It was something that I decided I wanted to get involved with after attending a benefit concert in February 2010.  During the concert, I saw "Wrightsville Beach" pop up on the screen and wondered why I had never heard about this organization.  So... if you don't know anything about Life Rolls On (LRO)... it's a subsidiary of the Dana & Christopher Reeve Foundation that was founded by Jesse Billauer, a young surfer who was left quadriplegic after a wave pushed him head first into a shallow sandbar.  His story is really really inspiring and motivating... I would highly recommend everyone watching "Jesse's Story."

I would also... tell anyone and everyone (my friends will vouch for it!)... that if you can ever volunteer for "They Will Surf Again"... you must.  It's one of the most inspiring things to be a part of.  Words can't begin to describe it and  pictures can't capture how unbelievably amazing it is...  you have to be there to feel the energy... to see the hope, happiness and witness the freedom.

"LRO is an avenue to hope, independence, freedom, happiness, inspiration, and teamwork.  It is about bringing people together and changing lives one day, one program, and one person at a time.  Each of LRO's amazing programs offers the opportunity for the physically disabled to open their minds, help them forget about their challenges and to be thankful for the opportunity to still be alive."

While my husband spent the day in the ocean with our friends and community helping get the participants surfing, I (much like last year) hung out on the beach.  BUT... this year, I actually got to do a lot more!!  This year, I not only volunteered with Ocean Cure for the LRO event... but I was also doing double duty by volunteering with Surfrider!

During the event, I had a container of cigarette butts on display for playing "Guess How Many"... and we-- Bonnie, Ginger, my kids and I-- constructed a giant footprint in the sand to help raise awareness to the amount of litter-- especially plastics-- picked up off our beach!  From plastic water bottles to kids toys... all of the litter in the footprint (minus the containers  of cigarettes we displayed) was picked up by my friends Ginger and John on their Monday morning turtle walks during nesting season.  What they were able to do during their morning walks... is just more proof that with simple actions we DO make a difference.  

Having the footprint on display during the event, had many advantages.  The obvious is that people were interested, but what was also great about it is that kids came to borrow toys that were in the footprint.  :)

Since I'm now volunteering with my local chapter of Surfrider, this is an awesome opportunity to plug Raptoberfest.  Rap...what?! You ask. The whole month of October, Surfrider is dedicating to Rise Above Plastics (RAP)!  ...AND you know I'm ALL about Rising Above Plastics. :) 
So... without further ramblings....straight from Surfrider... Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your plastic footprint: 

  1. Stop using single-use plastic water bottles.  In nearly all cases, the water out of your tap is just as safe – if not safer – than the water distributed in single-use plastic bottles.   Instead, buy and use a reusable bottle and fill it with water.
  2. Whenever possible, buy food in bulk.  Buying food in bulk helps to reduce the total amount of packaging materials consumed.
  3. Buy your music electronically.  By purchasing your music electronically, you avoid the need to create plastic compact discs, plastic jewel cases, and cellophane wrapping.
  4. Stop using plastic grocery bags.  Each year over one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide.  Because these bags are so light and thin, they are easily carried by the wind out into the environment.  Instead, use reusable bags to get your groceries and other purchases home.
  5. Say “NO” to pre-packaged single serving portions.  These types of products are among the worst when it comes to excess packaging.
  6. Reusable containers are rad! When it comes to lunch and leftovers, ditch the plastic bag and use reusable containers instead.  Reusable containers are just as easy to use and far less harmful to the planet
  7. Buy a reusable travel mug.  Use a reusable travel mug or to-go cup for your coffee, tea and other beverage purchases.  Think of all the lids (as well as the waxed paper cups) you’ll save.
  8. Always look for alternative packaging. Many items such as soft drinks, detergent, cat litter, etc. come in alternate packaging (such as aluminum or cardboard) that can be more easily recycled than plastic.
  9. Buy and sell secondhand.  Clothing, toys, baby gear, furniture, household supplies, sporting goods and many other consumer items can often be found through secondhand sources, thereby reducing the amount of new plastic entering the waste stream.
  10.  Recycle! In those instances where you must use plastic, please make sure to recycle it.

Happy Raptoberfest... get your rethinking, reducing and reusing on.  Join your local Chapter of Surfrider... get involved in an organization that makes you feel awesome because you're doing awesome.  Do something that matters... and most importantly have fun. :) 

This post is dedicated to my Grandpa.

September 20, 1927- October 1, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Daily Ocean: Day 101

It feels like an eternity since I've been to Wrightsville Beach.  After I did my 100th clean up, my family and I had to take an unexpected trip back to St. Louis to visit family.  But this weekend, I got back to the beach and loved every second of it!!  On Saturday, I spent 7 hours at access 4 volunteering with Ocean Cure for Life Rolls On and with Surfrider for our "One Foot At A Time" beach clean up!  It was an awesome AWESOME day... and I can't wait to share it with you all!! :) Here's a little peak of what we were up to on Saturday ;)

Sunday evening,  my family and I met Nina (and her family) at Wrightsville Beach.  I met Nina (on Facebook) about 5 months ago, and when she told me she was going to be visiting family in my area... we both agreed that we just had to meet up!!  Nina lives in Florida and picks up litter and other treasures-- such as sea beans-- off of her local beach.   But not only is she another kindred spirit, she's planning on sharing her knowledge and love for the environment with children by having her first children's book series "Adventures with Nina & Steve " published.  LOVE that!  

Fall is definitely here in Wilmington.  Over the weekend, the temperatures took a dip into the 60's.  The change in weather, marks a change in the amount of litter found at the beach. As much as I'm bummed that summer is over... I'm happy for the break in picking up overwhelming amounts of litter.
One thing that Nina and I talked about is how at her beach, they get a lot of litter that washes up from other places... Wrightsville Beach, for whatever reason... doesn't get debris washed in.  The litter we pick up (unless there's been a hurricane or off-shore storm) is from beach goers.  People pick up your sh*t!!  Love (y)our beach!  ...and if you see someone leave something behind... speak up or pick it up... please and thank you :)

20 minutes on October 2, 2011 at Access 15

Litter by weight: 2 lbs 1.7 oz 
Cigarette butts: 175

Total amount of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach, NC in 101 days: